Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On Vacation

I'll be out on vacation for the next couple of weeks, so this blog will be on radio silence. For commentary, please consult my blogroll.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vet Benefits and the GI Bill

Word is the Senate could be voting on the Webb-Mitchell bill next week. The bill is designed to give special educational assistance to veterans who served after 9/11 by extending the time a veteran must use the benefit to 15 years after discharge or release. The bill has been endorsed by veteran advocacy groups like Vote Vets and the VFW. It's a solid bill, and they're planning to lump it in with the Iraq supplemental spending bill, so it has a decent chance of passing.

Class Admission

Today Emily Bazelon looks at a story in the Chronicle of Higher Education that talks about how colleges and universities with the biggest endowments -- usually over $500 million -- are working at increasing class and race diversity, but somehow the number of students who receive Pell grants are falling. So if these schools were really successfully recruiting lower-class students, wouldn't the Pell grant numbers be going up? The answer is, they're not. The answer, then, isn't to increase recruitment in schools where they might find lower-class students, but instead Yale and Harvard are expanding to upper middle class families with incomes up to $200,000.

These premium colleges and universities seem to be so out-of-touch with the lower class students that they're not recruiting successfully. I grew up in a small town full of middle- and lower-class working folk, something those coastal elitists like to call "flyover country." Part of the problem is that education for a lot of people that might be in the classes that they'd want -- the kind that are in the Pell grant-receiving brackets -- view education as a much more practical venture. They want to earn a degree that will take them the furthest without breaking the bank.

Cross posted.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Young Women and the Pay Gap

Today we have an article up over at Campus Progress on the equal pay legislation that failed to come to a vote this week. Our writer, Aisha Forte, outlines why young women are the ones that should be paying the greatest attention to this issue:
The persistence of pay discrimination could not come at a worse time for young women. Students today are graduating with more and more loans. According to the College Board’s “2007 Trends in College Pricing” study, the costs of four-year public universities increased by 4.4 percent more than inflation per year over the last decade, while four-year private universities increased by 2.9 percent more than inflation per year over the same period of time. Often students are forced to offset the rising cost of tuition with more student loans. The average student today graduates with roughly $19,000 of student debt—that’s more than most down payments for a house.
Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fair Pay Act Didn't Achieve "Restoration"

Yesterday, Republicans managed to block a veto-proof majority on the Lilly Ledbetter-inspired Fair Pay Restoration Act. Although some hope that Harry Reid will continue to work on the legislation (possibly passing it under a friendlier administration), it's still vastly disappointing.

Male feminist?

Ugh. So apparently it's up for debate if men can really be feminists. I find this kind of discussion reductive and frankly kind of annoying. Firstly, it assumes that there is only one correct kind of feminism. Secondly, I'm pretty sure that having a vagina doesn't give you special access to feminism (not to mention if you identify as gender queer). I understand the argument that men sometimes don't always totally get it because they've experienced a lifetime of subtle privilege that they tend to be generally unaware of. But that doesn't mean that men can't be feminists.

Furthermore, what's frustrating is that people tend to assume the opposite is true as well: women=feminists. Some of the most sexist language I've heard has come from women out there. There's a tendency to call issues that feminists support "women's issues" as if it's a male versus female battle out there.

In fact, if feminists really want to advance their causes, they really need male feminists. By making feminism something for everyone, as bell hooks said, then we actually have a hope of a united front for pay equality, equality in child care and household politics, and a whole host of other issues.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The 'New' New Left is White, Male

Brian Moton has a piece in Dissent that talks about the "New" New Left, what he describes as an "intellectual A-Team" made up entirely of bloggers. Kevin Drum has already pointed out some problems with the list that Morton came up with relating to age, but I think the more salient factor is that the entire list:
Joshua Micah Marshall (the man behind Talking Points Memo); Eric Alterman, the Nation columnist, author of many books, and blogger for Media Matters for America; Ezra Klein (The American Prospect); Kevin Drum (the Washington Monthly); Glenn Greenwald (Salon); Matthew Yglesias (the Atlantic); Bob Somerby (the Daily Howler); Rick Perlstein (the Campaign for America's Future); and the writer who goes by the name of Digby who blogs for her own website, digbysblog. I think of Paul Krugman and Harold Meyerson as two of the spiritual godfathers of this kind of politics.
is made up entirely (with one exception) of white men. Um, how can the "new" new left be a monolithic group in the same way the old one was?

Auctioning Breasts for the Sake of Breasts

I was invited to this event on Facebook today, and pretty much couldn't believe it. "Babes for Boobs!" the event is billed. The idea is a charity date auction to raise money for breast cancer, but not only does it raise money for the "boobs" and not mention the fact that women die as a result of the disease if not properly treated (screw the women, so long as we save the breasts), but it also engages in pretty distasteful trading something generally done in a sexual or romantic context (a date) for money. The description of the event even says, "In order to raise $2000 for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, I have decided to SELL MY FRIENDS! And a few people I don't even know. That's right. I'm selling my people for charity." Gross.

Columbia Students Lowered Birth Control Costs

The Columbia Spectator reports today that pressure from student activist groups resulted in the student health services center lowering the cost of birth control to make it more affordable. As Campus Progress has reported before, the cost of birth control has shot up in recent months due to the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act. Prescriptions that used to cost $10 now cost $50 or $60 to a lot of college students and recent graduates.

At Columbia, though, the fabulous NuvaRing (a vaginal ring that contains hormones released continuously throughout the month) will drop from $40 to $20 over the summer and regular oral hormonal contraception co-payments will drop from $10 to $5 a month. Thanks to the pressure of a coalition of student groups, birth control at Columbia is once again affordable to students.

Cross posted.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In the Words of Lilly Ledbetter

Today is also Equal Pay Day, a day that highlights the fact that equal pay still doesn't exist. Via Firedoglake, below is a video produced by Alliance for Justice that shows Lilly Ledbetter speaking out about pay discrimination in her own words (and narrated by Josh Lyman, er Bradly Whitford).

Cross posted.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Young People Want Jobs

Campus Progress received an advance copy of an MTV/CBS poll this morning (which will be published on later today), which shows some significant things about a national sample of 18-29 year olds:
  • About two-thirds of young people believe they have as much or more influence on the presidential election as other generations. Of those, 31 percent believed they had more influence.
  • The economy now takes place as the number one issue young people are concerned about. The breakdown of issues is as follows: 22 percent said the economy was the number one issue, 13 percent said the Iraq War, 6 percent said education, 5 percent said the environment, and 5 percent said health care. About two-thirds of young people also think they have a fair or poor chance with job prospects.
  • Young people overwhelmingly (34 percent) listed economic problems as the number one problem that needs to be addressed in the next 20 years. The next biggest group (18 percent) listed the environment as the biggest problem to be addressed in the next 20 years. Interestingly enough, they can both be tackled by investing in green jobs.
  • Sixty-five percent of respondents said the coverage of the presidential race as focused too much on race and gender. Young people want to talk about issues.
Cross posted.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Full Frontal Nudity in Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Ezra has thoughts on Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I thought the film was great and funny. Although I still like Superbad more in the realm of Judd Apatow. The amazing thing about Forgetting Sarah Marshall was evident in the opening break up scene. There was full-on male frontal nudity. Extended. The degree to which people laughed -- it was more of an uncomfortable laugh, like you laugh because you're surprised. The thing is, people in the theater laughed every time they showed Jason Segel's penis. It sort of showed the disparity between male full nudity in film and female nudity in film. When people see a penis, they laugh because it's so . When people see a naked woman, it's almost ordinary.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Danger For Journalists In Mexico

Via Ann at Feministing. Recent reports reveal that two young female radio journalists, aged 20 and 24, were killed in Oaxaca, Mexico recently. It's startling to hear that journalists that are so young were shot to death, but Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in which to attempt reporting, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. More journalists were killed last year in Mexico than in Afghanistan. In fact, as this excellent Washington Post foreign service story from last year shows, the press in Mexico is nowhere near free.

Equal Pay Day

Blog for Fair Pay Today is blog for Equal Pay Day. So named because despite all the articles declaring that feminism is over, that we live in a post-feminist society, women on average earn about 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. If you're a woman of color, that rate drops even lower.

The reason this is such a hot issue now is because the Supreme Court ruled against Lilly Ledbetter last year in a lawsuit against her employer Goodyear. They determined that her complaint had been filed after the appropriate time (in her state, 180 days) and the Supreme Court not only said she lost her right to sue after that period of time, but she also lost her award of back pay. The problem is, of course, that she didn't even realize that she was getting paid less than her male peers until after the time period had expired. Furthermore an initial pay discrimination decision can compound over time and cause an extreme disparity after years in the workforce.

Thankfully, there's legislation that that has been proposed in both the House and the Senate called the The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (the Senate is expected to vote on a version of the bill next week) that would, among other things would allow the time period to be counted from the last paycheck and not from the time the pay decision was made and take pension payments into account. Other versions of the bill attempt to increase pay transparency in ways that would still protect privacy.

My main fear with pay discrimination is that we've been locked in this kind of pay gap for decades. People are beginning to think that there's nothing that can be done, that that's just the way things are. The simple fact of the matter is that there are many reasons why women make less money than men, and it isn't as straightforward as the blatant sexism that Ledbetter experienced. (And when I saw her testify before George Miller's committee last year she told some stories that were truly terrifying.)
  1. Women tend not to ask for more money or don't ask for as much as men. Generally, they're more cautious about negotiating their salaries.
  2. Promotions tend to be more infrequent for women, sometimes due to taking time off for child bearing or child care.
  3. Women who don't have higher education tend to fill lower paying jobs (hairdresser, administration) than men without higher education do (construction work, auto mechanic).
  4. Women wait for evaluations with specific guidelines and expectations they might exceed before asking for a raise, while men tend to ask for more when they feel they "deserve" it.
  5. The subtle sexism that men who network with each other in a personal way by talking about sports or dating. Women tend not to be part of those conversations as often.
There are more reasons I didn't list, but I think the tendency is to think that somehow we're "beyond" this kind of treatment. As if sexism and pay discrimination is a thing of the past. And such discrimination doesn't always come from men. Female bosses can apply some of the sexist stereotypes about women and pay just as easily as men can.

Young women in colleges especially don't tend to think of pay discrimination in such ways. College is an environment where the guidelines are pretty clear, and young women tend to make up the ranks of the highest-achieving students. Young women tend to assume, as I did, that their hard work would earn them the fair pay they deserved. It's more complicated than that.

UPDATE: Here's the piece I wrote for TAP last year about the Ledbetter case.

Cross posted.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When a Rape is a Rape

Via Cara at Feministe. (Her post is excellent so you should read the whole thing.) A Maryland court rule that it is indeed a rape when someone continue shaving sex with someone after they say "stop" or "no." The headline on this story? "Definition of rape widened."

Cross posted.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dear College Graduate: Good Luck Finding a Job

That's the message of an NPR story this morning about college graduates on the job hunt. It's not available in print form yet, but you can listen to it here. Apparently if you're anything less than an A/B student, you should "take whatever job you can get." Many companies are putting hiring freezes on in light of the credit market crunch. Additionally, many graduates are competing with more "experienced" people who are on the job market because they've been laid off.

Great. As if college graduates don't panic enough during their job search.

Cross posted.

J.K. Rowling Made a Fan Cry

In presidings over a copyright lawsuit yesterday, a fan creating a "Harry Potter Lexicon" -- an encyclopedia of sorts about the world of Harry Potter -- cried. J.K. Rowling, the author of the infamous books, called the encyclopedia "sloppy, lazy and ... wholesale theft" of her work.

But it turns out Rowling likes Vander Ark's website, something the middle school librarian created as a companion site over the years. It's just that Rowling is concerned that the Lexicon could compete with her own forthcoming Harry Potter encyclopedia.

At this point, Rowling's creation has become to big for her to control. Harry Potter has become part of global culture. Clearly she has chosen to pick and choose which "copyright violations" she will go after -- and this one was targeted because it directly competed with something she herself planned to sell.

Cross posted.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Feeding Children with Feed Corn?

I know it's a pointless exercise to prove the Family Research Council wrong, but in an email that went out to their members today, they said:
The U.N. estimates that the amount of corn it takes to fill a 50-liter car tank with ethanol is enough to feed a child for an entire year.
I'm having a hard time finding the report online and am not sure exactly what the original UN report said (probably something along the lines of the resources used to grow corn for a take of gas could be used to grow food for a child for a year), but it's certain that that corn used to make ethanol is NOT the same corn that you would feed a child. Furthermore, a lot of liberals aren't such big fans of ethanol anyway. Even the most moderate tend to view biofuels like ethanol as a temporary solution and not a permanent one.

Fall Out Of the Generation Gap

Rinku Sen has a rather odd post on RaceWire. She* titles it "Dear Generation Disaffected:" which I guess includes me. She takes the anecdotal evidence of his intern, who said she couldn't find a place "to contribute." Sen then dives in to trying to figure out why this generation feels disaffected. But her post isn't very specific. Is she talking about all young people? Is she talking about young people of color? Or simply young men, like this intern? Is she talking about those seeking a career in nonprofits? It's unclear.

Thomas Friedman wrote the now-famous "Generation Q" column for the New York Times. Instead of trying to inspire a new generation to political action, he spent the entire column attacking us for lazing on the couch and plugging iPod buds into our ears. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers think because they don't see an exact replication of what they did when they were young, something must be drastically, desperately wrong.

Sen didn't stop to think that this generation isn't a monolithic group. Since she left out details about the intern, I can't speak for him, but I tend to doubt young activists, organizers, or budding young media stars that pepper our generation feel disaffected. As for the rest of us, it's not hard to figure out why some of us feel frustrated: we're facing unprecedented piles of student loans, a failing economy that makes many college grads wonder if they'll ever find a job, and opposition to a war that shows no signs of stopping. Indeed, it's hard to deny that things are bad. But then, things are bad for everyone.

Furthermore, Sen claims little responsibility for what she ascribes to be disaffection. In fact, she even says, "[My intern's] program requires a mentor, and I was it." It's an attitude of reluctance. In fact, until recently, progressives have been largely unwilling to pay much attention to young people. Thanks to "Generation Me" of which Sen is a part, young people have mostly gotten to where they are today without any real form of mentorship at any real level. This is a trend I've noticed in the generational divide among feminists. There are young women that are willing to take up the label and the cause, but instead of getting praise and mentorship from second-wave feminists, they are often attacked for their choice of lifestyle, profession, or even presidential candidate.

But the reality is that despite the debtloads, poor economy, and lack of mentorship, young people are doing good. I work for an organization called Campus Progress that works for this sole purpose -- to give resources to young people that want to work on making a difference. There are superdelegates that can't even drink legally yet, and young media stars like many of the people that I know here in D.C. We're hard at work making sure college loans ratchet down to affordability, getting other young people to vote in the upcoming election, and starting multi-billion dollar websites like Facebook.

So perhaps I should open a letter back up to those that are in the upper brackets of the generation groups. Instead of whining about how we don't do anything, why don't you open your eyes and give us a hand on what we're already working on?

Cross posted.

*I originally referred to Sen as a he. My sincere apologies for the error.

Tax Day

I heard this really strange story on NPR yesterday:

"We have, frankly, billions of pieces of paper that get put in the backs of large semi- trucks and rolled up to IRS facilities," said David Williams, IRS' director of electronic tax administration. "And we've got to keep track of it all. And so when people file right there at the end of the filing season, it takes us a lot more time to get through and make sure that we've done the right thing with their tax return."

The IRS now hopes to reach the 80 percent threshold by 2012. There are a number of obstacles to that, including fees for electronic filing, and taxpayer concerns about dealing with third-party processors.
Now, I'm no economist, but it seems the incentives are set up all wrong. If the IRS really wants people to file electronically, they should make filing electronically free. The main reason I didn't file my returns electronically was because you have to pay an additional fee -- and that's after I bought the tax program for dummies. I agree that e-filing is faster, more searchable, and more environmentally friendly, but then the IRS needs to re-evaluate its incentive system.

"Choose Life" License Plates

Today over at RH Reality Check, Eleanor Bader has a piece about the "Choose Life" license plates I saw in Florida last week. They're supposed to be a fundraiser for women who choose adoption instead of abortion, but instead:
[M]oney collected by the DMV has been accumulating far faster than it is being spent. "In Marion County, we get $30,000 a year which is distributed to qualified agencies that promote, support or enhance adoption services," [Publicity Coordinator for Choose Life, Inc. Russ] Amerling continues. "There is no paperwork, no contract signing. The county auditor goes in every year and confirms that the money is being used in accordance with the statute. That's it. In other counties it's not like that. Many county commissioners don't distribute the money because there is so much red tape that agencies don't even apply for it. It's too burdensome. The funds are not being spent because barriers are being erected that keep it from being spent."

This means that the money raised by Florida's sale of Choose Life license plates isn't doing what its promoters say it is -- helping women place their babies with adoptive families. Instead, the funds -- approximately $200,000 according to -- languish in state bank accounts.

Because the spending is so restrictive, by only spending on adoption rather than health care, diapers, or other necessities women who choose to have children and keep them may need, the funds aren't spent properly. Shocking that women who have children would need such things. If you ask me, this is one of those cases of waste, fraud, and abuse that the right is always lamenting.

Cross posted.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Whale Blogging

Photo courtesy of Matthew Winterburn, used under a Creative Commons license.

Because I was out of town for most of last week it took me a while to catch up on my reading. Via this article in the NYTimes, it seems that environmentalists and animal rights activists are going after ship speeds to reduce the death rate among whales:
Ships are one of the two leading causes of unnatural death among right whales, and scientists have warned that the unnatural death of even one breeding female has the potential to tip the species toward extinction. From 2002 to 2006, there were 17 confirmed deaths by ship strike, at least six involving adult females.

In an effort to stop the fatalities, the National Marine Fisheries Service has tried to impose speed limits on ships within 30 miles of port. But the White House has delayed approval of the rule, which is opposed by some shipping companies.

The White House Office of Management and Budget is supposed to review federal agencies’ rule proposals within 90 days, with an optional 30-day extension. In the case of the right whale ship strike rule, it has been more than a year.

It seems that a simple thing like reducing boat speed limits in areas where whales are known to travel could drastically reduce death among these animals.

The New Protest Music

Via C&L. Marc McDonald over at Beggars Can Be Choosers laments the lack of "protest music" in today's popular music landscape. I'm sure people who are far more into the music scene could bring up more specific examples than I could, but I'd have to say that McDonald presents an argument that's wrong for a couple of reasons. There argument McDonald makes is once centered on stereotypes about class and race. He compares Paris Hilton and the Dixie Chicks with Bob Dylan, these are both imperfect comparisons.

Firstly he cites Bob Dylan as a leader in the late 1960s protest music. Dylan is an interesting example, because while his lyrics can be widely interpreted as against the Vietnam War, Dylan himself (as I saw in the PBS mini-series No Direction Home) came off as rather apolitical. He wasn't into protesting and more or less blew off his co-performer and activist Joan Baez when she encouraged him to take part in war protests.

Secondly, there are two reasons why today's music isn't reflective of the war in the same way the late '60s and early '70s was. First of all, most popular singers and songwriters are largely unaffected by the war. The draft was active back in the days that McDonald talks about. Musical performers were just as much at risk as everyone else to getting drafted to fight in the war. Remember that even Elvis served a tour in Korea. Today, there are two different kinds of people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, military contractors that are rewarded handsomely for their work, and the enlisted men and women that by and large come from lower-class, small-town America. That isn't to say these people aren't musically inclined, but when you're talking about corporate popular music, you tend to be talking about the wealthy.

But I'd argue that there is music that could be called protest music -- it just doesn't fit into the neat anti-war mold that McDonald outlines. Anyone who's seen Gunner Palace has heard some of the rhymes and heavy metal lyrics soldiers are composing that indicate exactly how fucked up the war in Iraq is. Obviously McDonald's never heard of the Hip Hop Caucus, and other black artists like M-1 who actively speak up against the war. Furthermore, some of the hip hop out there has been talking about the street wars for years. Sure, maybe when you look at the largely white, upper crust of the Billboard charts you may not see a lot of "protest music," but when you look closer, music about the war does exist.

Cross posted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Gainesville Winter Soldier

Last night I went to a Winter Soldier panel Campus Progress co-hosted down here in Gainesville, FL. It was a smaller scale than the one Spencer reported on in DC, consisting of six Iraq veterans, four of whom are with Iraq Veterans Against the War and two who just came forward to talk about their experiences unaffiliated. The event was extremely intense, gripping the audience during each soldier's story and lasting nearly four hours. The stories ranging from witnessing deaths of Iraqis, suicide bombers, self-medicating drug use, lack of veterans benefits, and sexual assault of both American female soldiers and Iraqi women.

Clifton Hicks, who was once suspected of being the author of TNR's disputed "Shock Troops" article, said, "None of us are here to make American soldiers look bad, because anyone in this room is capable of the same thing." Hicks blames the evil of war and not the individual troops. Many soldiers said they were still "pro-military" but opposed the Iraq war in particular. The opinions on pullout varied from immediately and as quickly as possible to a strategic and slow withdrawl. Unsurprisingly, the veterans aren't a monolithic group and don't have one opinion about the war.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sexual Assault Among Military Contractors

The Nation has a compelling article about Lisa Smith* who has come forward with another incident of sexual assault while working in Iraq for a military contractor. The problems with reporting sexual assault in these companies is explained well here:
Take Jamie Leigh Jones's case, for example. ... The first is the battle to have the perpetrators prosecuted in criminal court--which, because of Order 17, may be nearly impossible. According to the order, imposed by Paul Bremer, US defense contractors in Iraq cannot be prosecuted in the Iraqi criminal justice system. While they can technically be tried in US federal court, the Justice Department has shown no interest in prosecuting her case. In fact, for more than two years now, the DOJ has brought no criminal charges in the matter. Representative Ted Poe, a Texas Republican who has taken up Jones's cause, reports that federal agencies refuse to discuss the status of the investigation; meanwhile, in December, the DOJ refused to send a representative to the related Congressional hearing on the matter.
Unfortunately, in the interest of "national security," women who sign up for military contract work end up signing away their right to a jury trial and end up trapped and unable to receive justice for such instances of assault. At what point is a corporate contract worth more than the physical and emotional safety of these women?

* Her name has been changed to protect her identity.

Cross posted.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Harassment on Campus

A report released by Public Agenda today reports on bias and harassment on campus at Michigan State University, Columbia College, and UC-Berkeley. The thing is, though, that the survey had pretty poor methodology. The group of students who took the survey was a self-selected group that clicked on a Facebook ad. The study doesn’t actually measure incidents of harassment, but rather measures which groups students perceive are more likely to receive harassment. By examining these stereotypes, the survey concluded that it was “safer” to be a woman than to be gay. About 30 percent of respondents at the three schools thought was either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” for female students to be sexually harassed while closer to 50 percent (MSU 53 percent, Columbia 47 percent, Berkeley 38 percent) of students noted verbal or graffiti harassment toward students who identify as GLBT.

Furthermore, the survey found “on a more positive note, the findings indicate few students (16 percent) believe female students would be taken less seriously in the classroom because they are female.” This is a pretty common misconception in college because college campuses have mostly achieved gender parity and, excluding hard sciences, the gender parity even tips in the favor of young women on campus. I personally didn’t get what the big deal with sexism was because women routinely performed at the top of every one of my classes. Where the guidelines are clear, like in a grading system, women tend to exceed. It is where the guidelines become less clear, like in a professional work environment that the number of women, especially in leadership positions gets stuck at around 20-30 percent.

I’m all for advocating that campuses become safe spaces for minorities of all kinds, but this survey just doesn’t seem to be a reliable way to measure or prevent such harassment. What will help, in part, is if there is an increase in the reporting rate of incidents of harassment. As long as young people are afraid to report harassment, it may continue to persist. We need to ensure young people feel comfortable coming forward with reports of discrimination and harassment.

Cross posted.

The Daily (Male) Show

Sarah Seltzer has a piece up on Jon Stewart and "'dude' culture" over at RH Reality Check. I've always enjoyed watching the Daily Show and, although I've been watching it less often since the writer's strike, Cristina Page noted that she was refused from the Daily Show to promote her book How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America while Ramesh Ponnuru was invited on the show to promote his right wing anti-choice book, The Party of Death. Furthermore, the Daily Show's list of guests in the last year didn't even come close to gender parity. In 2007, only 11 women sat in the chair across from Jon Stewart. Of those, seven were actresses and two represented the right wing, Margaret Spellings and Lynne Chenney. There are a number of Very Serious (read: mostly very boring) men that promote their books on the war or the economy. If you only got watched the Daily Show, you'd think that women didn't hold positions of power or write books. Most of the writers and on-air talent are men. It's probably just because women aren't funny. So much for a progressive comedy show.

I'm Voting For ...

Campus Progress Action has launched a new project called "I'm voting for" to help amplify the voices of youth in this fall's election. Students from around the country have recorded videos explaining what issues they're paying attention to this year. Even Gideon Yago got in on the action. You can upload your own video here.
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